hire an ecommerce virtual assistant

How to Hire an eCommerce Virtual Assistant

If you consider upscaling your eCommerce business and searching for an eCommerce virtual assistant, this article is for you. 

For the second quarter of 2021, US retail eCommerce sales achieved $222.5 billion. That was an increase of 3.3% from the first quarter. More so, that is $222.5 billion from a total retail sales of $1.666.8 billion, with eCommerce sales moving up year on year. This means that businesses that have optimized themselves by adding eCommerce have increased sales and have not faced a slow decline. But before we go on, let’s briefly explain the term eCommerce site. 

What is an eCommerce business? 

Simply put, it is a site used by any company that sells products or services via the internet. There are three main players, namely, business-to-business sites, of which Shopify is an example, or business-to-consumer sites, with Amazon the best known. Then there are also consumer-to-consumer sites such as eBay.

Many businesses that trade via the internet have found using a virtual assistant (VA) useful to optimize their online business and cost-effective, compared with hiring an on-site employee. But what is a virtual assistant? 

What does a virtual assistant contribute? 

Online assistants or virtual assistants can be really useful, are people that work remotely for a company or client. Such a VA will do the administrative, creative, and technical tasks that assist a company to function properly. 

Why should you hire a virtual eCommerce assistant? 

When you began your business, the work was manageable, and you could have done it alone. But as your business has grown, the tasks and responsibilities have also increased. Also, you are finding it harder, with more and more competitors targeting the same consumers like you – you need to stand out. 

However, there are two problems – you just don’t have the money to hire a full-time on-site employee, and you lack the skills such as proper SEO knowledge or content-writing skills to keep up with your competitors. This is where a virtual aide comes in – as they work remotely, they command lower wages, but they have the skills you need to boost your eCommerce sales.  Plus, a virtual member of the team does not have to work full time. Therefore you could hire a VA only to assist during peak times, such as before and during the holiday season, to ensure that you still maintain a great customer service level. After that, you can scale down, thus saving you money. But where do you find an eCommerce virtual assistant to help you grow your business? 

How to hire an eCommerce virtual assistant

To find an assistant, you can either opt for a freelance assistant or approach an agency to assist you. 

If you go the freelance route, you will need to go online to various sites posting adverts for the role you want to fill and then do the recruitment process yourself. That would involve checking references, giving the interviews, and if needed, conducting tests and checking the results. This can be time-consuming, and the main goal of hiring a virtual assistant is to reduce your stress and time spent on tasks that distract you from your core work. Also, once you have hired a freelancer, it can be difficult to manage them. More so, if the relationship fails, you will need to restart the whole process. 

An alternative is to go through an agency. This approach is superior and quicker. An agency will match a VA to a client’s requirements, taking care of the screening interviews and reference checking. The result is that, of all the applications, only around 2% will remain – that is, the best people who have applied. If anything goes wrong, the agency will intervene and resolve any staffing problem for you. This way you can stay focused on your work and not on the functioning of an HR department, therefore keeping your overheads low. 

What does a virtual online assistant do?

The type of tasks that you can outsource to a virtual or online assistant are: 

  • Provide exceptional customer service 
  • The online store development or design 
  • Graphic design
  • Order processing
  • Product sourcing and research 
  • Orders and inventory management 
  • Product listings
  • Videography
  • Social media posting
  • Responding to comments on social media
  • Posting and optimizing ads.

If you go through an agency, the agency with vet the candidates based on the criteria you have provided, thus ensuring that you will get what you want: your tasks will be done properly and on time. You will need to decide on the key tasks you want your VA to manage – be it the programming, graphic design, SEO, blogging, customer service or Facebook marketing

How do I monitor my virtual assistant?

A big question you need to ask is – How do you manage a virtual assistant? Well, a key element when hiring an online aide is proper communications, as this will develop trust between you and your employee. In addition, there are tools available to make the process easier and more effective. These tools include project management tools, such as Trello ( free to use), Tauria for communicating without any data being leaked, as well as tracking software that you can use to track how many hours a VA has worked. In addition, you could also use Google’s Drive and Dropbox for sharing files. 

A final word 

Our team at Aristo Sourcing has been assisting clients since 2014. We know how to source the best people to fill positions. More so, with 9 out of 10 clients coming from word-of-mouth we can confidently state that we are doing something right. 

If you are a business owner and want to book a private one-on-one chat, click here. We are here to help you upscale, and will advise you throughout your process. Many of our clients have long-lasting relationships with their VAs. They have thus benefited by the relationship that has assisted them to grow their businesses faster, without having to compromise on quality.

  • If you are looking to apply for a virtual assistant position, please complete this form

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